China.org.cn: China's space station: Warm, open new home in outer space
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BEIJING, Aug. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report by China.org.cn on China's space station and astronauts in space:
Chinese astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo, dubbed the "trio who traveled to space on business," have been living and working on China's space station core module Tianhe for more than two months. Recently, they carried out extravehicular activities for a second time. Look at Nie standing on the robotic arm against the backdrop of the earth. What a breathtaking scene.
During their time in space, the crew have experienced many other unforgettable moments.
The first thing the three astronauts did after arriving at Tianhe on June 17 was to start opening packages. Back in May, the cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-2 was launched ahead of the crewed mission, delivering more than six tons of goods and materials to the space station. The more than 160 packages contained not only various parts and equipment to be installed and tested, but also the basic supplies for the astronauts.
These included more than 120 kinds of space food carefully prepared by nutritionists. In the module, the astronauts enjoyed various dishes, teas, juices and more, adding to the joy of "earth-dwellers" below. In addition, the crew work as each other's health care assistants, regularly taking blood samples and conducting tests as well as routine ultrasounds. They exercise on the space station's specially designed treadmill and exercise bike to keep fit in a microgravity environment. The friendly astronauts also interact with netizens on earth from time to time: Posting a video after watching the Tokyo Olympic Games, or sending wishes on "Chinese Valentine's Day," — really made known their presence in space.
These seemingly trivial things and relaxing scenes are actually very meaningful and important. According to its plan, China will finish building the space station in 2022. This manned mission aims to test key technologies in the construction and operation of the station in orbit, including bioregenerative life support systems, and technologies for supporting astronauts' long-term stay and conducting extravehicular activities.
Moreover, since the International Space Station, which has been in orbit for decades, could be retired as early as 2024 or possibly in 2028, construction of China's station becomes even more significant.
Sometimes people hear arguments that treat space exploration as a "competition of interests" or "more political than scientific." However, astronauts from different countries live and work in space, showing their appreciation and empathy for each other, such scenes are touching — humans are born with curiosity and a thirst for knowledge, and the vast universe carries the hopes and dreams of all mankind. After all, space is open to all. Space exploration should not and cannot exclude anyone.
Previously, to board the Chinese space station, astronauts from Germany, France, Italy and other countries worked hard learning Chinese and came to China for training, eating and living with Chinese astronauts like family. Nine projects from 17 countries, including Switzerland, Poland, Kenya and Japan, have also been approved to conduct experiments on the Chinese space station. More people could be expected to visit the new China-made home in outer space, where they can work together to seek a better future.